Thanks to a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 2.5 million young adults will be healthy for the holidays this year. As we’ve blogged about previously, the ACA allows most young adults under 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans if they don’t yet have access to coverage through their job. Prior to the ACA, insurers had the option of removing enrolled children usually when they turned 19 or perhaps a few years later if they were full-time students. By allowing young adults to continue to receive coverage through a parent’s plan, the ACA gives young adults and their families peace of mind that the transition to adulthood doesn’t have to mean forgoing access to essential health care.

The new figures released by National Center for Health Statistics confirm that since the provision went into effect in September 2010, an additional 2.5 million young adults gained coverage even as other age brackets remained steady in coverage levels. This means that from September 2010 to June 2011 the percentage of adults 19 to 25 with coverage increased from 64 percent to 73 percent and it’s clear that the higher levels of coverage are because of the changes brought about by the ACA.

We can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than healthy and worry free and the ACA has already made that a reality for 2.5 million young adults. This is truly something to celebrate during this festive time of year.

—Nicole Tambouret, Project Director and Patrick M. Tigue, Senior Policy Analyst